John 6:41-66 (shortened) (New Living Translation)
Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”
“I tell you the truth… I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” Then the people began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked.
So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you… I am the true bread that came down from heaven…” At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.
To many today who have grown up in Christianity influenced homes and societies, these words of Jesus may not sound so alarming and scandalous. To the Jews back then, Jesus claiming to be ‘the bread of life’ was equating himself with God (Yahweh); to them Jesus was sounding crazy, consequently many of his followers left him.
Jesus strengthened his claim to be ‘the bread of life’ by adding that ‘unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life’ – meaning we have to fully believe and accept that everything about Jesus, his actions and character, his words and thoughts, his agenda and purpose, are all important for our redemption.
This claim of Jesus that we believe and accept that he is the absolutely essential and fundamental element for redemption and progress of humanity to a better life, was scandalous to the Jews, and has remained scandalous to many people. Every person must decide whether they accept or reject this ‘bread of life’ claim of Jesus.
Dear God, help us to clearly understand these issues, and guide us in our decision making, so we will not miss out on eternal life, Amen!